On its website, the Federal Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced yesterday, April 18, that Germany had transferred a Patriot anti-aircraft missile system and missile suite to Ukraine.
In addition to the air defense system and missiles, Germany also supplied Kyiv with 16 Zetros trucks and two border patrol vehicles. This delivery marks the first confirmed case of the transfer of a Patriot battery to Ukraine.
The supplied weapon system has been placed under the category of “delivered” military aid, which Germany has pledged to provide to Ukraine, amounting to $2.41 billion in lethal and non-lethal aid.
The United States has also agreed to deliver a Patriot MIM-104 air defense system. However, the Pentagon returned yesterday to confirm whether the system had been delivered or not.
Back in March, Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s top spokesman, told reporters that delivery of the Patriot battery would be expedited. However, he did not provide further details.
In a press briefing, US officials recently confirmed that Ukrainian air defense troops trained at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, had completed their formation and departed for Europe. However, US officials refrained from disclosing the delivery schedule for the Patriot MIM-104 air defense system that the United States has promised to send to Ukraine.
Colonel Yuriy Ihnat, the spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, declared last Friday on national television that he had not seen the Patriot air defense system. The Ukrainian news agency Interfax quoted him as saying: “When [they are handed over], it will be known.”
The United States made the initial announcement in December 2022 that it would provide Ukraine with a Patriot system as part of its military aid package. Two Patriot air defense systems and missiles have been promised to Ukraine by the Netherlands.
Politico claimed last month that Germany’s planned Patriot system for Ukraine would incorporate parts from both German and Dutch systems.
A big boost for Ukraine’s defenses
The Ukrainian military aims to bolster its missile interception capabilities in anticipation of a spring counteroffensive to recapture Russian-occupied territories.
Russian forces have ramped up their offensive to seize the city of Bakhmut, the site of the war’s longest engagement, despite both sides running out of weaponry after more than a year of warfare.
A top US defense officer recently warned reporters that the Patriot air defense system is not a comprehensive solution, despite its ability to intercept cruise, ballistic, and planes.
The official stated that the main goal is to help Ukraine improve its air defense system by integrating different capabilities, including existing systems in Ukraine and NATO standards.
The Patriot system will supplement the short- and medium-range air defense capabilities supplied by the United States and its allies in earlier aid packages.
The Patriot is one of the most cutting-edge forms of air defense utilized by the United States armed forces. The Patriot, or “Phased Array Tracking Radar for Intercept on Target,” is a radar system manufactured by Raytheon Technologies Corp.
Ukraine needs additional air defense systems to ward off Russian forces’ continued missile and drone attacks. The United States has delivered two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) to Ukraine.
Russia has used drones to strike Ukrainian infrastructure, but the Patriot system can detect and destroy these aircraft and ballistic missiles.
The Patriot system is expensive. Therefore it wouldn’t make sense to use it to destroy drones that cost only a few thousand dollars each.
The Patriot system, according to officials and experts, will save lives by destroying incoming missiles. It’s a defensive mechanism, so it won’t do anything to change things in the ongoing fight.
Furthermore, it has just produced a study claiming that sensitive information about the pace of consumption of Ukraine’s air defense weapons was exposed in leaked US intelligence papers.
Russia’s persistent attacks on Ukraine’s air defense system have warned experts that it “could fracture” without a substantial infusion of ammunition.
The New York Times claimed that if Ukraine’s air defense network were to fail, Russian President Vladimir Putin might employ his formidable fighter jets to alter the war’s trajectory substantially.
Ukraine’s ability to defend its most vital airspace would be greatly enhanced by even a single Patriot air defense system, albeit this wouldn’t change the game by itself.